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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mistakes to avoid when self-publishing

There are a few things that separate successful self-published authors and the could-have-beens. If you want your book to succeed, avoid these common mistakes.

1. Formatting

There are specific requirements for properly formatting your book. Authors who try to do the formatting themselves may be disappointed with how their book turns out. To ensure your book is formatted properly, either enlist the help of your self-publishing company or look online to find tips if you are proficient in Word formatting. Even if you're an average Word user it's not that hard anymore. After you upload your book, use the preview option to check for errors before you launch. Even if you upload your book and find errors later, you can download the HTML version and upload it again when you corrected it. If your book has a number of pictures then you'll have to zip the file before you upload. Click on the 'paragraph character' which looks like an upside down music note. Found in the 'quick toolbar' at the top. Then use the 'control + F' option in Word to find and replace. Click on 'more' then 'special' tabs to find all the extra 'paragraph characters' that shouldn't be there and so on.
A few links to help you:

2. Front Cover

You may be tempted to save money by using a template cover. Your cover is your first selling point. Despite the cliché 'Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,' most readers do! You want a unique, professionally designed cover that captures the essence of your book and encourages readers to buy it. You can find perfectly good professional cover designers online that don't charge the earth.
Tip: Trawl through Kindle ebooks to find the covers in the genre that you are writing and that you like. This way when you approach a designer they will have a better idea of what you want. If you can find a photo you would like to use (royalty free) then do so. This saves them time and you money.

3. Editing

Another area authors often try to save money is editing. They think that self-editing is the best option, but even the best writers can’t rely on self-editing. It’s just not possible to catch all of the mistakes and issues when you are so attached to the project. Always have a professional editor review your manuscript before publishing to ensure your book is the best it can be. Too many mistakes can be costly to your reputation as a professional author. I would suggest you go to and find an editor there to suit your budget. It takes time for the editor to review your book so ensure you have factored this into your schedule.
Tip: don't pick the one with the best resume as that can be misleading because it may not fit your style. Instead ask them to send you an unedited and edited sample of their work (same pages). Some may offer to look at a 2 or 3 pages of your manuscript.

4. Back Cover

Paperback: The back cover is just as important as the front cover! Do not rush through this step. The back cover helps hook the reader and plays a role in online search results. A professional copywriter and editor can help make your back cover and blurb great.

5. Time

Do not rush! It is far better to get your book out there when you've spent the time revising your manuscript. I've seen books that I know were rushed and it turns readers away from considering your next book. Those one star reviews hurt you and kill sales. That said, you do need to have a realistic but flexible timeline.

If you think that one book is enough then think again. The successful authors know it is important to get it as good as they can before they launch. These authors know that launching their first book is only part of the journey. As soon as they have one out there, they get busy writing the next one and so on.

Enjoy the journey because if you don't then there's no point writing. It's not an easy road to travel but it can be a rewarding one.

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